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little benefit was produced to their pockets by that continuance, an advantage was at least gained to the manufacturer by the great enlargement of the consumption. Thus machinery, while it saved the labor, contributed also to the extravagance as well as the comfort of men.
An important change was soon effected in the cultivation of cotton, by increasing the motives of its production, and the profits that would thus necessarily accrue from that cultivation, which was, the invention of the saw-gin, by Eli Whitney. This individual, a native of Westborough, Massachusetts, gave early indications of mechanical genius ; and, although a graduate of Yale College in 1792, appears to have directed his mind less to literature than to mechanical philosophy. Upon taking his degree, he was cast upon the world to make his way, and soon entered into an engagement with a citizen of Georgia, to reside in his family as a private tutor. On his arrival in that state, to conform to that engagement, he met with a severe misfortune at the threshold, for he was informed that another teacher had been employed. He was thus left without resources or friends. He fortunately here met the family of General Greene, then residing in Savannah. “My young friend,” said that gentleman to Whitney, “ make my house your home, and pursue what studies you please. This generous offer was very promptly accepted by Mr. Whitney, who soon commenced the study of the law under that roof, employing the intervals of relaxation in a devotion to mechanical pursuits; and among other articles, he succeeded in making his hostess a tambour frame, which at this time excited much attention. At this period, the family of General Greene were accustomed to receive frequent visits from the neighboring planters; and among other remarks made respecting the agricultural in. terests of that portion of the south, it was regretted that since all the lands that were unsuitable for the cultivation of rice, were eminently favorable for the production of cotton, no means were ascertained to clean the green seed-cotton effectually, or to separate it from the seed; and that, unless some contrivance should be adopted for that purpose, it was useless to attempt to raise it for the market, as one day's work was frequently required to separate one pound of the clean staple from the seed. Apply to my young friend, Mr. Whitney,” said Mrs. Greene," he can make any thing;' whereupon she conducted them to an adjoining room, and showed them her tambour frame, and other ingenious toys, which he had wrought for her children. The visiters who chanced to be present were then introduced to Mr. Whitney, who disclaimed any excellence in this respect. But a new object of ambition now burst upon Whitney's vision. He determined, if possible, to attempt the invention of the cotton-gin, and proceeded to Savannah, searching among the warehouses for specimens of the staple, which he had never before seen, A basement story upon a Georgia plantation was assigned to him for his labors, and he quietly toiled on, with the knowledge of only a few friends, to perfect his projected invention,—a silent labor that was regarded as very mysterious by those who were unacquainted with the secret. Near the close of the winter, the ma. chine was completed so far that its success was made almost certain. The discovery was regarded with enthusiasm, as the state was in a depressed condition, owing to the want of occupation for the negroes, and its products were scarcely sufficient for the substantial support of the white inhabitants. The machine having been at last got ready, a temporary fabric was erected for its exhibition; and a number of spectators having been
collected from different parts of the state, it was perceived that by this instrument more cotton could be separated from the seed by a single hand than by the old method in many months. Bright prospects soon opened upon him. The machine destined to develop vast resources of wealth to the state was regarded with a general and deep interest ; and multitudes flocked to the place where it existed, in order to witness its operation. But it was deemed even imprudent to exhibit it to the public, as the patent right had not then been taken out.
By one of those infamous acts which are stamped with the blackest injustice, Whitney, when he had just entered into partnership with a friend, in order to push the results of his invention to those points whereby he might reap some portion of its benefits, then having relinquished the profession of the law, was nearly cut off from all the advantages that he should have derived from the exertions of his genius. The people in the neighborhood, against law and decent morality, entered the building at night, and carried away the instrument; and before Whitney could complete his model or secure his patent, a number of machines of a similar kind were in successful operation. Disaster arose upon disaster in the life of this man.
His shop, with the machines, and all his papers, were con. sumed by fire; and reports began to be circulated abroad that the fibre of the cotton was injured by the action of his instrument. The patent, which he had supposed was permanently secured, was infringed upon, and having hazarded considerable expense in the construction of his gin, to supply the markets of Georgia, total bankruptcy seemed to threaten his prospects. Indeed, a long course of litigation, which appears to follow in the footsteps of too many inventors of genius, clouded his prospects; and Mr. Whitney, in his correspondence with Robert Fulton, upon this subject, in a desponding tone, attributes the difficulties with which he was obliged to contend, to the fact that there was a “want of disposition in mankind to do justice.” He alleges that throughout the state of Georgia combinations against him were regularly organized; that few men dared to come into court, to testify to the facts of the case; and that in one in. stance he had great difficulty in proving that his machine had been used in Georgia, although there were three separate sets of that machinery in motion within fifty yards of the place where the court sat, and so near that the rattling of the wheel was distinctly heard upon the steps of the courthouse. The legislature of South Carolina were, however, induced to offer Mr. Whitney and his partner, Mr. Miller, fifty thousand dollars for the use of his machine; and a sale of the patent right for that state was also negotiated with the state of North Carolina, the consideration of which is understood to have been promptly paid ; and a like arrangement was afterwards made with Tennessee. The success of the machine was, however, fully demonstrated, and the eagerness with which it was hailed manifested itself throughout the state of Georgia as soon as it was finished. The planters of that state, perceiving that new impulse was to be given to their prospects in the cultivation of cotton, by this instrument, entered deeply into the matter, and in 1794, were willing to borrow large sums of money, at five per cent premium besides the lawful interest, in order to extend this species of agriculture ; while Whitney earned the credit of giving a spring to the agriculture of the south in that species of enterprise, which has been handed down unimpaired to our own day,—a credit that will endure while the cotton plant whitens the plantations of the south with
its snowy harvests, or the machinery of the cotton factory clatters upon the waterfall !
It may not be uninteresting to give a particular account of the saw-gin of Mr. Whitney, as it has now become the most important instrument of the south for preparing that staple for market, and by which three hun. dred pounds of cotton may be cleansed in a day, through the agency of a single man. It consists of a receiver or hopper, with one side formed of a grating of strong parallel wires, separated from each other by the distance of only one eighth of an inch, into which the cotton is placed. Near to the nopper is arranged a wooden roller, having a circular series of saws upon its surface, each separated by the distance of about an inch and a half, and that pass to a certain depth within the grating of the hopper. Upon the revolving of the roller, the locks of the cotton are seized by the teeth of the saws and dragged between the wires, the seeds being prevented from passing through on account of their size, and fall to the bottom of the receiver, from which they are carried off by a spout. А cylindrical brush, revolving, sweeps the cotton from the saws. By this instrument, the fibre of the cotton is somewhat injured, but the mode of cleansing it is the cheapest that has ever been devised, and all the cotton produced in this country, excepting the sea-island, passes through this operation.
We have before alluded to Mr. Whitney as having been instrumental in advancing the cotton production of the south, by the invention of the saw-gin, his genius thus enriching the southern planter; and in order to ascertain the amount of this advantage, it will be necessary only to state that in 1807, thirteen years after the cotton-gin was introduced, fifty-five millions of pounds of upland cotton were exported, whose value was eleven million and five hundred thousand dollars; and that from 1827 to 1830, upon an average of four years, two hundred and seventy millions of pounds were annually exported, that were valued at twenty-four millions of dollars during each year; and that in 1833, the quantity exported was three hundred and thirteen millions five hundred and fifty-five thousand six hundred and seventeen pounds, that were valued at about thirty-two millions of dollars. Yet, in the state of Georgia, which had received the first and most important benefit from his invention, he was excluded from all its advantages. Even in that state, the right to the invention was disputed, and in consequence he was obliged to resort to the judicial tribunals; but his suits failed, and before he was able to take advantage of a new patent law that had been enacted in part for his own benefit, thirteen years of his patent had expired. It is said that Judge Johnson, of South Carolina, who presided on that occasion, gave, in his charge to the jury, the most ample justice to Mr. Whitney as the original inventor of the cotton-gin. In 1812, Mr. Whitney applied to congress for a renewal of his patent, and a report was made in his favor by a committee of the house of representatives; but the war which followed, and a combination of other circumstances, prevented the conclusive action of that body upon the subject, and Georgia had the full benefit of the machine without making the inventor any compensation for its use. It may
proper here to give a brief account of the particular mode of the cultivation, which prevails in the different sections of the south. And, in the first place, we would take a brief view of the particular section where the sea-island cotton was first introduced. A long range of VOL. IV.NO. III.
islands lies between St. Mary's, in Georgia, and Charleston, in South Carolina, originally crowned with the evergreens of the south, intermingled with live-oak, and whose soil is principally composed of a mixture of clams, oysters, and other shells, together with the aboriginal remains of the Indians who formerly occupied that point; and their shores were at an early period colonized by a body of English people, who cultivated the indigo upon the soil. Upon one of these islands, separated from the main. land by a salt marsh, the sea-island cotton was first produced, and the fact that this species of cotton requires the salt air, and was first cultivated in such positions, has probably originated the name.
The great value of the sea-island cotton, and the extent to which it is produced in our own country, induce us to present a figure of its general form. This figure was originally procured from Mr. Seabrook, an intelligent planter of the south, and by him furnished to Dr. Ure, from whose work on manufactures we transfer it to this paper.
Sea-island, or Long-staple Cotton Georgia. The seed of the sea-island is entirely black, and is sometimes covered with a species of fur. Its cultivation is extended about forty-five miles from the sea shore, and the quality of the shrub appears to diminish accord. ing to its distance from the ocean. The best kinds are produced upon the
island of Edisto, John's, Wadmalan, and St. Helena, in South Carolina. It is sown in different modes; in long hills, in short hills, and shallow trenches, that extend the whole length of the ridge. The most approved method of raising this crop is found to be the sowing in short hills, or near holes the width of a hoe apart, when it requires the most careful labor in thinning, ploughing, and gathering the plant, which commences about the twentieth of August, and ends about the first of December. In the cotton lands of Mississippi, and the adjoining states, however, a different mode of culture prevails. In that section of the country which now yields by much the greater part of our cotton production, and where it is supposed that the land will more advantageously produce the crop when it has been previously cultivated one or two years for grain, it is customary to make the rows with the plough alone, and of only five or six feet, and upon the rich and low grounds seven or eight, a species of culture that is found to produce the most abundant harvests.
The extension of the cotton cultivation, from Georgia as a common centre, to the territory of the Carolinas, and westward to the shores of the Mississippi, introduced new and improved modes of tillage. It was soon found that the short-stapled cotton flourished in great abundance, especially between the waters of the Arkansas and Red rivers, where the soil was deeply tinged with red, and impregnated with a salt which produced the most bountiful species of this kind of crop. It is stated, indeed, by an enterprising cotton planter, that in this district a thousand pounds of seed cotton, or two hundred and fifty of Guinea wool, may be gathered with due industry ; whereas, from the Mississippi to the Carolinas, especially in the hilly country, not more than five hundred pounds of the seed cotton can be produced. Yet, in all these districts, the system of agriculture is essentially the same. For the hand hoe, which is used upon the seacoast, the plough is substituted in the interior, the latter instrument being cheaper and more effective in breaking up the soil ; yet both are used in ridge husbandry. The seacoast of Georgia and Carolina, being much more exposed to the ocean winds than the interior, and the capsules of the sea-island being accustomed to expand more broadly than the shortstaple, it is obvious that the former must be a much less certain crop. The short-staple pods, indeed, are allowed to hang upon the plants until they are ripe with the wool, and they may, accordingly, be collected at two or three gatherings, while the sea-island requires ten or twelve, at a much greater cost of time and labor. Several varieties of the cotton grow bountifully from the southern borders of Virginia to the shores of the Mississippi, extending over a belt of about two hundred miles; and although its production does not exhaust the ground, still the size and swelling of its roots cause it to become too loose to sustain the plant, and accordingly the system of rotation of crops is beneficial in this as in other species of agriculture.
Of the actual amount of production, it is believed that eight acres, cul. tivated by the plough, will generally yield upon an average about one thousand pounds of cotton wool to each laborer employed; and ten cents a pound being, perhaps, the most common value, although, of course, varying according to the speculations of the market, one hundred dollars may be fixed as the value of such an amount. But this crop, like most others, is subject to the vicissitudes which, in all the enterprises of human labor, are apt to blast the hopes of man. The cotton is a delicate plant,